Thursday, December 20, 2012


An addition to downtown Dallas is the Klyde Warren Park located within the shadows of the famous metro skyline and positioned over a bustling crosstown expressway.  While thousands of cars roar beneath the park, a pastoral escape awaits park visitors with open areas for picnics, concerts, an outing with your pet in the doggie park, and even a special section with children's attractions.

Of specific interest to the youngsters is a water feature resembling a snail, winding its way through                 grassy knolls.

Friday, December 7, 2012

"Home Sweet Home"

As you reach the main intersection of Golden TX you'll immediately notice the historical building that might have been a dry goods store in the past. Or a bank. Or a dime store. Regardless of its history  the faded paint on the side of the building still welcomes visitors to this quaint little village.  But what's hidden from view is the magnificent transformation that's taken place inside this stately commercial structure.  It's now home to Sammie Barnie.  And she's one proud homeowner as was apparent as I photographed the front of the building. The front door opened wide and there stood Sammie with the invitation "Dontcha wanna come in and look around?"  Now who's gonna turn down an offer like that?

What followed was a grand tour of a building that had been lovingly transformed by Sammie and her husband, sadly now deceased.  But his handiwork, along with Sammie's vision, will live on for generations.  From the entryway on the first level, you're drawn to an inviting conversation area around the fireplace.

As you pass a display case of collectables ranging from antique musical instruments to a dog-earred Visitors Journal, you can't help but notice the plaster stripped from the walls to expose the original brick.  At the rear of the expansive first level, its up the stairs to the second floor.
A full kitchen, complete with island bar, the latest in appliances, all resting on the original wood flooring makes for a luxurious hub to entertain.  And further in to the second level, another conversation pit, plus an open area allowing you to look down to the lower floor and the main entrance.
Add to the mix, bedrooms and bathes and there you have it. A landmark, a conversation piece, and most importantly, a beautiful home.  Kudos to the Barnies!!!!!

Monday, November 19, 2012

"Veterans Day, Mineola TX"

Small town America is still one of the greatest blessings bestowed upon us, especially if you're mired down in a major metropolis with its traffic, congestion and, all too often, its rude, harried and hurried inhabitants.  And when you can visit one of these cities and it coincides with a national holiday, that's when you really appreciate what rural America has to offer.

In my case, it was a was a pleasure trip to Mineola TX one Friday afternoon, a 90 mile drive from Dallas.  While checking in,  the motel clerk mentioned a Veterans Day parade the following morning, and I suddenly had a priority on what had been a "no-commitment" week-end.

So it was with Nikon in hand that I joined the locals to commemorate and recognize the sacrifices  hundreds of thousands of American Veterans have made to preserve what this country is today.  And what a glorious experience it was when the American Legion Color Guard kicked it all off, followed by the Mineola High School Marching Band, plus a variety of parade participants who only added to the down-home grandeur of this event.  There was Miss Stars & Stripes astride her steed, accompanied by The Statue of Liberty, followed closely by an effervescent Uncle Sam tossing candy to the kids, and who could overlook the school children with their hand-painted patriotic posters?

But the highlight of this Saturday morning was the privilege to honor one of the vets to whom this whole celebration was designed to recognize: Parade Grand Marshall-- from The United States Marine Corps-- Private First Class James A. Krodel, who stormed the beaches of Iwo Jima and fought on Guam more than a half century ago.  

If this modest photo essay moves you to seek out a vet, shake his hand and say Thank You!, it will  have served its purpose.  

Semper Fi, Private Krodel!!!!!  
And Thank YOU!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

"Technical Advances"

While hiking the highway to Taos Ski Resort, a dilapidated shed nestled in a stand of trees caught my eye.  The decaying wood was highlighted by a powder-blue door askew from neglect, but regardless of   the weathered condition, its contents were secure thanks to a new, brass combination padlock.  One can only wonder what prized possessions were being safeguarded by this modern security device.  Quite a step up from the rusted, door bolt still in tact.

Monday, November 5, 2012

"Unbridled Joy"

In a gallery (to go unnamed), at a location (not to be divulged), I happened upon a sculpture by an artist (who shall remain anonymous), and going against all protocol, I was able to raise my camera in homage, capturing forever a great piece of craftsmenship. Who would not be moved by the exuberance of this child who may be celebrating the first day of summer vacation, or the feel of new-mown grass on her bare feet, or just a glorious springtime shower? It's your interpretation, but as you contemplate, don't lose sight of the immense talent on display. When one talks about capturing lightening in a bottle, this magnificent piece does just that. Bravo!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Taos Sunset

Looking down a deserted highway from the Rio Grande Gorge winding back to Taos, a New Mexico sunset is taking shape.  This picture merely confirms why this state is known as "The Land of Enchantment".  Whether dawn, high noon or end of day, New Mexico is indeed visually spectacular.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Market

It really doesn't make any difference where you go to uncover the fun and characters in a market.  Whether it's a flea market or farmer's market, it's pretty much the same.  And they're in Sante Fe, New Mexico and Estes Park, Colorado...even as far away as the Smokie Mountains of Eastern Tennessee.  Each area is represented in this post, and since it's been awhile since I've made an entry, I decided to run a series of some of the most delightful people I've run across.  None were posed. Most didn't even realize they were being photographed.  And that just adds to the rich tapestry of a rural market.  Real folks.  Real towns.  Real portraits of Americans.  God Bless America!

Monday, August 6, 2012


It's really hard to anticipate a "photo-op" and that's why one should probably always have a camera in hand or at least accessible.  But never knowing what equipment might be needed for a particular opportunity, often times it's easier to dump your paraphernalia in the trunk of the car.  Thankfully on a rainy afternoon trip to Houston, I had camera in hand as I double-checked photo settings for an upcoming shoot.  And as fate would have it, we passed a dedicated Harley rider, unencumbered by the elements and totally engrossed in reaching his destination.  It was a study in concentration that first prompted me to swing my camera around to capture a shot of a man and his machine "roarin' in the rain".  But it was later while proofing the photo that the realization dawned on me:  I'd just ridden the interstate with Ichabod Crane.  If I've lost you on this analogy, merely Google  Disney's "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" and it will hopefully show the resemblance of my subject to one of America's most colorful, literary characters.  

Friday, August 3, 2012

"Better Times"

With catchy names like "QuickTrip", "RaceTrack" and "Fuel City", new multi-pump stations seem to flourish on the interstate,  offering not only fuel, but franchise food ranging from Colonel Sanders Chicken to Wendy's Hamburgers.   While only a few miles away,  a trip down outdated  Farm-to-Market roads reflects a past that's been lost to progress.  It was an era where small general stores displayed signs promoting Ice Cold Cokes to enjoy while you got gas. These little stores provided a welcome break to many a weary traveler. Those were simpler times. Slower times.  And now, times gone forever.

Monday, July 30, 2012

"A Man & His Sculpture"

Initially I referred to him as "Mountain Man" as I catalogued a group of photographs from a recent trip to Tennessee, because that's where I discovered him:  sitting in his rocker on the porch of his studio, perched above a two-lane road on the side of a mountain.  Actually his name's  Jess Betschart and he's much more than a mountain man. He's an artist.  And  he's a genuine American character,  whether he's sittin' and whittlin' or just talking with visitors who've come to see his work.   But when he gets around to doing some serious whittling, he creates inspired carvings, whether it's a majestic eagle, a whimsical bear or a primitive crucifix. So if you're ever in Monteagle TN and decide to drive "off the mountain" down Hiway 41, look for the rustic carved sign "Sculpture in Wood", and be prepared to make a quick turn up a winding dirt drive to Jess's magical world of art.  You'll be glad you did.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

"A Road Less Traveled"

Forgotten Barn

Bathtub Greenery

Tractor Tracks

Rolled & Ready

It's been about two months since I've posted anything -- with the majority of that time squandered on dealing with an internet provider in an attempt to access the internet in a reliable fashion. After untold hours of frustration, it appears that I'm back on line.  And with a vengeance, as is evidenced by the posting of not my usual single photo, but with four compositions captured while exploring Eastern Tennessee.  You never realize what you miss as you travel the interstate until you hit the roads of rural America.  And what visual treasures await.  It's America at 20 Miles Per Hour  (or less).  What a delight!  Virtually everything you find around the next bend is unexpected:  a ramshackle barn adjacent to a deteriorating silo;  a bathtub inexplicably filled with foliage; a freshly mowed field with an alien message or more than likely just the footprint of a errant tractor; and, finally, a field of rolled hay to be loaded.  All of these indelible memories of Americana captured in a mere hour of wandering a road less traveled.

Friday, April 20, 2012

"Terlingua Memorial"

A weathered wooden cross ravaged by decades of blistering heat and a relentless West Texas sun still stands in Terlingua's barren cemetery. In the fading light of a fall afternoon, the draped, silver beads seem to be a further testament in honor to an anonymous loved one.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

"Double Duty"

If you didn't see the red beacon on the old Grapevine TX Fire Engine as it roared down the street, you'd hear the distinctive wail as it made its way to another emergency. At least this was a step up from the old hand-cranked siren, and since it was electrically powered, a functional light was added. But like so many things, this antique warning mainstay has been replaced with concealed digital models that are more piercing and powerful, even giving emergency responders a choice of sounds to alert the public that there's trouble brewing, so clear the way.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

"No Mass"

Located just outside the town of Lajitas, TX on the Rio Grande, this small church was never really designed for religious services. Rather, it served as a backdrop to some rather well-known films, including "The Streets of Laredo" and "Maverick" (the movie), starring James Garner, Mel Gibson and Jodi Foster. Although decaying in the unyielding sun and scorching temperatures of Southwest Texas, this abandoned movie set captured the "wild west" architecture, sparing no detail from its exterior stucco to the cross carved into the window shutter.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


One of the nature's most ominous creations, the prickly cactus, has been recognized for years as a source of water for those unfortunate enough to become stranded and suffering from dehydration. More recently, this same desert inhabitant has become popular for a lot more than its water content. Just remember the next time you enjoy that warm glow after imbibing in a margarita or an old-fashioned "shooter", it took some delicate harvesting to create the tequila that you so much enjoy.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

"Nap Time"

There are certain things a girl, especially a little girl, just has to have. One of them: a nap. Even on the scenic hike up to Colorado's Alberta Falls, it's hard to miss the tell-tale sign that someone's just about to run out of gas. Although this young trouper made it all the way to the top-o-the-trail, chances are on the way back to Estes Park, she nodded off while daddy drove.

Friday, February 3, 2012

"A Step Back"

There are so many elements in this photo that initially caught my eye as I wandered a block off the town square of Grapevine TX. First of all, a blacksmith shop; now that's a true relic. And towering above this still thriving enterprise was a water tower and windmill. All of these images hearkened back to simpler times. But then I noticed one thing that made this composition completely unique: an eco-friendly florescent bulb in an antique fixture, providing modern-day illumination to this historic setting.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

"Gettin' Down to Business"

The concentration on the closing holes of The Masters couldn't be much more intense than what's reflected on just about any hole when you're watching youngsters participate in The First Tee program. But the focus at this stage of the game is to learn, while having fun. And that's the way it should be as participants become familiar with the basics of golf, starting with rules and etiquette before they fine-tune their shot-making techniques.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

"Last Tree Standing"

Normally, I'm excited to share my world with you by posting locations, people or events in living, vivid colors. But as my friend and fellow photographer Steve Immel ( so effectively displays in his work, there are definitely certain advantages to black and white that effectively convey the character of a situation better than any combination of colors. In this shot of a forlorn tree atop a desolate ridge covered in scrub brush, there was no other way, perhaps, to get across the desolation of this southern New Mexico landscape. As noted B&W photographer Robert Frank put it so eloquently, "Black and white are the true colors of photography, because they symbolize the alternate aspects of despair and hope to which mankind is forever subjected".

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

"Late Afternoon at The Caprock"

There are times when people fail to realize the vast beauty available throughout the State of Texas. The Caprock Canyon is but one of many vistas, not to forget the beaches of South Padre Island, or the rolling terrain of The Hill Country, or the lush piney woods of East Texas, all located within the boundaries of a single state.. And if one canyon doesn't fulfill your artistic or photographic ambitions, a mere 80 miles to the north is the famed Palo Duro Canyon, second in size only to The Grand Canyon of Arizona.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

"Indian Super Market"

With this, my first posting of the new year 2012, it was only natural to look back over the past year and reminisce on my annual trek through Santa Fe, NM. And certainly one of the most colorful and interesting sights of the trip was a stroll through the downtown square where Native Americans display their handcrafted items ranging from sterling silver Bolo Ties to Turquoise jewelry of every description. If you're ever stymied for a memento of your trip to The Land of Enchantment, make this a primary stop on your agenda. You'll neither be disappointed, nor will you leave empty handed.